Brokers escape TASA net

Brokers escape TASA net

Brokers escape TASA net

Brokers that provide tax advice in the course of advising clients will no longer be forced to register and have a certain level of qualifications after the Government yesterday agreed vital changes to the Tax Agents Services Act.

The news means brokers can breathe easy. In its previous form, TASA would have applied to any one in the financial services who holds an Australian Financial Services Licence who gives tax advice in the course of their role.

The aim of the legislation is to regulate the conduct of financial advisers that provide tax advice for fee and provide a framework for registration and minimum professional and competency standards for tax service providers.

It is not meant to apply to those who give general factual advice, Jane O’Neill, senior associate at Wotton + Kearney said.

But the draft legislation garnered bitter criticism from the industry as the law, in its current form means that any financial services individual who provides tax advice would have to be registered and maintain a certain level of qualification and/or expertise in tax matters.

The Financial Services Council welcomed the redefinition, having just a few days ago warned that the broad definition will “impact anyone holding an Australian Financial Services Licence [including] insurers, superannuation providers and even call centres”.

“The re-definition of tax (financial) advice under TASA is a positive outcome for the industry,” the CEO John Brogden said yesterday.

The legislation was due to come into force on 1 July with a three-year transitional period but fierce backlash from the financial services industry has forced the Treasury to postpone the implementation deadline until 1 July, 2014.